Study Guide

Island of the Blue Dolphins Chapter 13

By Scott O'Dell

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Chapter 13

  • The night before she goes to the place with the sea elephants, Karana thinks about the law that says women can’t handle weapons. Will her arrow break at the exact moment that she needs it, like the law says?
  • In the morning, Karana heads to the cliffs. Below her are the angry-tempered male bull sea elephants and the smooth bodies of the female cow sea elephants.
  • Karana picks out the smallest in a group of six, who is a young bull without a herd of his own.
  • Karana moves down the cliff and hides behind a rock to watch him, all the while remembering that pesky law about women and weapons.
  • The young bull begins to move toward to the shore to one of the female cows. Karana takes a shot with her bow and misses.
  • Around that time, an old bull starts moving toward the young one. Looks like there's going to be a fight between the two rivals.
  • Sure enough, the two start going at it; the old bull rips a "long gash" in the young bull (13.18). Yikes.
  • Karana considers shooting another arrow at the young bull, but she secretly wants him to win, so she holds back.
  • The old bull starts coming up the slope toward Karana, so she takes off and hurts her knee in the process.
  • The old bull whirls around on his pursuer and attacks the young bull with all his might.
  • The two roll around in the reddening waves, clashing and fighting. The sun goes down and Karana leaves them, going back up the cliff, listening to their crazy bellowing below.

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